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Russia Grants Snowden Three-Year Residency Permit

Journalists in Moscow listen to a speech and a question posed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden at a media center during Russian President Vladimir Putin's nationwide phone-in program in April 2014.

Russia has granted fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden a three-year residency permit.

Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, announced the extension to journalists in Moscow.

Kucherena said the permit, which came into effect on August 1, allows Snowden "to move about freely and travel abroad."

Snowden is sought by U.S. authorities and has had his American passport revoked.

He was granted temporary asylum in Russia in August 2013, a term that expired on July 31.

Last year, Snowden -- who once worked for the U.S. National Security Agency -- revealed details about Washington's electronic eavesdropping programs, including the mass collection of phone data and spying on foreign leaders' communications.

He is wanted by the U.S. authorities for revealing classified material.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, dpa, and ITAR-TASS